Sure, you could walk into the parks with your wallet, phone, and nothing else but there are several items that make it easier to make it through the day, especially since we have kids.
We have had a few different types of park bags and learned some lessons. Our first bag was a backpack with a ton of pockets. We loved it because everything was organized and the backpack was very sturdy. The drawback was that it had all the pockets! If you don’t already know each Disney park has a bag check line. All of our pockets had to be unzipped each time. In 2017, we used a backpack that folds up into itself for storage. It was pretty thin, but held up well and only had two pockets. On occasion, we also had a Disney tote if we were just going out for a short time. The tote is easy for bag check but doesn’t protect well on rides like Splash Mountain and if it gets knocked over then everything spills. A tote does work nicely for taking a few items to the pool rather than repacking a park bag.
What’s in our park bag?
First Aid Kit
No, this isn’t a full-size kit, but I’ve got the basics: bandaids, Neosporin, tums, and Aleve or Tylenol. I found a cute and compact makeup bag at Target a few years ago that I use and it tucks away nicely at the bottom of the bag hopefully not needing to be used.
Snacks & Drinks
You probably noticed in the grocery post that we stock up on some light snacks and have some drinks. Each evening we prepare our park bag with just a few snacks depending on our anticipated time in the park. Usually a pack of crackers, a box of dry cereal, fruit snacks or peanuts. We also freeze a couple bottles waters and usually just two Powerade drinks.
This helps when hunger strikes in line or we just want a little snack and not just ready for Mickey ice cream bar just yet.
We keep it just enough to snack on and not weigh down the bag. Drinks are easily stored under our stroller or after opening in the side pocket of the bag.
We always, always have baby wipes with us. They come in handy for everything: wiping down a table that just opened up at a quick service dining location, cleaning up after snacks, fixing any little spills, and wiping sticky fingers. If you have room flushable wipes can be useful for the restrooms.
I’m sure I’ve talked plenty about these awesome cooling towels. They are a must. Be sure to bring a Ziploc bag to put them in and try freezing them overnight with the drinks so they can thaw in the morning before the heat is at its highest.
Extra magic band (if you have it)
Magic bands are pretty secured once snapped on your wrist, but we did have one incident on our last day in 2017 when Grumpy lost his band. He didn’t even know. I noticed it and he couldn’t recall when he last had it. Luckily we had another one in our bag and he was able to scan in for his next FastPass.
A quick check of our photo pass and we found someone picked it up then rode Mine Train and Splash Mountain so we deactivated the band.
A few more miscellaneous items:
The last few things tossed into our park bag are: sunscreen, autograph books and markers, portable chargers for our phones, and I also usually bring my camera with me (yes, in addition to my cell phone).
One last thing we try to remember pennies and quarters for the kids to use in penny press machines. These store very nicely in M&M container rolls and can easily be tucked in a side pocket of most bags even with a drink without taking up much space.